Friday, August 01, 2014

2014 Bowman Platinum Baseball - The Dodger Base Cards

With all of the hoopla surrounding the MLB trade deadline and the opening of the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland it's easy for something like the release of a new Baseball card set to slip by.

A couple of days ago, Topps released their 2014 Bowman Platinum Baseball card product, and I have photos of all the Dodger base cards to look at. 

As you know, the Bowman brand is heavily packed with prospects, so you'll find top-end Dodger farmhands like Pederson, Seager and Urias all over the set.  The base set is broken up into two seperate parts.  The main base set features regular MLB stars and some rookies.  Then, there is a prospect base set filled with some of the best minor league stars in the game.  Check out all of the Dodger base cards below.

#12 Clayton Kershaw                                   #37 Yasiel Puig


#45 Hanley Ramirez                                 #57 Zack Greinke

#100 Alex Guerrero

Prospects Set

#BPP19 Joc Pederson                         #BPP22 Corey Seager

#BPP31 Zach Lee                               #BPP46 Julio Urias


#BPP84 Chris Anderson

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Cubs Series Starts Tonight - Scheduled Autograph Signings, Game Give Aways and Other Stuff!


The next homestand starts this evening against the Chicago Cubs, and several old-tyme Dodgers will be in the house to sign free autographs for fans.  Below are the scheduled autograph opportunities and other odds and ends for this upcoming homestand.

---------------
Friday, August 1st at 7:10 PM
RHP Kyle Hendricks vs. RHP Dan Haren

Tonight's game starts at 7:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 4:30 PM, and stadium gates open at 5:00 PM.  It is Friday Night Fireworks, so fans will be able to go down onto the field after the game.  The theme for the evening will be a Vin Scully Tribute - Through the Decades. 

Academy Award winner Jeff Bridges, producer and star of the upcoming motion picture “The Giver,” will throw the ceremonial first pitch. “The Giver” co-star Brenton Thwaites will officially start the game with “It’s time for Dodger baseball!”  Actress and singer Ana Gasteyer will perform the national anthem. Gasteyer has performed on “Saturday Night Live,” in “Wicked” and is working on an upcoming album.

Former Dodgers Lee Lacy (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Tim Leary (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 5:00 PM to 7:00 PM.  Both will sign autographs in the Stadium club from 7:00 PM to 7:30 PM. 
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Lisa Lakin. Witnessing the attack on the USS Cole and 9/11 prompted Lakin. She currently serves as Independent Duty Corpsman with the 1st Medical Battalion at Camp Pendleton where she is responsible for diagnosing and treating service members by responding to sick calls and acute illnesses and injuries. She has served with Navy Operations Support Center in Worcester, MA and with Fighter Squadron VFC 13 in Fallon, NV. Lakin just returned home from deployment having served at Camp Leatherneck, Afghanistan. Her accolades include the NATO Medal and Global War on Terrorism Medal and the Afghanistan Campaign Medal.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) will hold a silent auction on the Club level by the Vin Scully Press Box. The auction ends at 8:45 p.m. with more than 25 items up for bid, including a Clayton Kershaw autographed baseball, Yasiel Puig autographed photo and Dee Gordon autographed game-used #42 LA Dodgers jersey from Jackie Robinson Day. The LADF will feature two autographed game-used #42 LA Dodger player or coach jerseys from Jackie Robinson Day at each silent auction for the remainder of the season. All proceeds will benefit LADF and its programs in sports and recreation, education and literacy and health and wellness which help children and families throughout the greater Los Angeles region.

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Saturday, August 2nd at 6:10 PM
LHP Tsuyoshi Wada vs. LHP Hyun-Jin Ryu

Tonight's game starts at 6:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 3:30 PM, and stadium gates open at 4:00 PM.  The first 40,000 fans will receive a Dodgers Reusable Tote Bag.  See it on the right.  According to the Dodgers this game is already sold out.

Also,The first 40,000 fans will receive a Leonardo Mask, courtesy of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.  Their new movie comes out on August 8th.  See it on the left.

Actors Rob Riggle and Jake Johnson will throw the ceremonial first pitch. They will also announce the Dodgers’ starting lineup. International Recording Artist and star of the upcoming MTV film “The Dorm” Cassie Steele will perform the national anthem.

Former Dodgers Al Downing (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Al Ferrera (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 4:00 PM to 6:00 PM.  Both will sign autographs in the Stadium club from 6:00 PM to 6:30 PM.
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Navy Petty Officer First Class Gabriel Mirelez. He has served 8 years of active duty service and two years as a Department of Defense Civilian Contractor. During his active duty service his role was an Aviation Warfare Technician. As a civilian contractor, Mirelez converted commercial planes into Improvised Explosive Device finders. He is currently in school studying to become an electrical engineer. Mirelez’s accolades include the National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal and the Iraq Campaign Medal.

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Sunday, August 3rd at 1:10 PM
RHP Edwin Jackson vs. RHP Josh Beckett

Sunday's game starts at 1:10 PM.  Auto gates open at 10:30 AM, and stadium gates open at 11:00 AM.  The first 15,000 ticketed kids 14 years of age or younger will receive an Kids' Back to School Backpack.  Check it out on the right.

Actor, comedy legend and star of the new FX comedy “Partners” premiering August 4 Martin Lawrence will throw the ceremonial first pitch along with comedy legend and star of the new FX comedy “Partners” Kelsey Grammer. Grammer will announce the Dodgers’ starting lineup. Mother, daughter, sister, actress, dedicated philanthropist, NY Times best-selling author and five-time GRAMMY award winning artist Wynonna Judd will perform the national anthem. 

Former Dodgers Dennis Powell (in right-field pavilion plaza) and Billy Ashley (in left-field pavilion plaza) will be signing autographs for fans from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  Both will sign autographs in the Stadium club from 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM.

Viva Los Dodgers begins in the Dodger parking lot at 11:00 AM.  Kenny Landreaux will be there to sign autographs for fans from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM.  Landreaux will then sign autographs in the Stadium Club from 1:00 PM to 1:30 PM.
  • The Veteran of the Game presented by Bank of America is U.S. Army Sergeant Nathan Wong. He serves with Charlie Company 2/3 Aviation Medevac Regiment based Hunter Army Airfield in Savannah, GA. Wong’s role is Crew Chief/Team Leader on the UH-60 Blackhawk Medevac Unit, also known as “Dust Off,” which is a military term for emergency patient evacuation of causalities from a combat zone. He has two deployments to Afghanistan and recently completed the Warrior Leader Course and the Air Assault Course. Wong’s accolades include the Army Commendation Medal with one Oak Leaf Cluster, the Air Medal and Army Goof Conduct Medal.
  • The Los Angeles Dodgers Foundation (LADF) will hold a silent auction on the Club level by the Vin Scully Press Box. The auction ends at 2:45 p.m. with more than 25 items up for bid, including a Zack Greinke autographed baseball, Adrian Gonzalez autographed photo and Andre Ethier autographed game-used #42 LA Dodgers jersey from Jackie Robinson Day. The LADF will feature two autographed game-used #42 LA Dodger player or coach jerseys from Jackie Robinson Day at each silent auction for the remainder of the season. All proceeds will benefit LADF and its programs in sports and recreation, education and literacy and health and wellness which help children and families throughout the greater Los Angeles region.

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Blog Kiosk: 8/1/2014 - Dodger Links - Colletti Explains Why They Didn't Trade


Wow!  What else can you say about Clayton Kershaw?  He has been an absolute beast.  Just check out this short list of otherworldly things he's done in his career so far, as compiled by Jon Weisman at Dodger Insider.  Last Night he went all the way to pitch a complete game.  He struck out 9 and barely missed out on a shut out.  The Dodgers now find themselves with a 3.5 game lead over the Giants, and they appear to be running on all cylinders.  The pic above via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.
  • Topps newest online direct sale Baseball card creation is called MLB Illustration and it includes a dandy cartoon-like drawing of Jackie Robinson.  It borrows a vintage Topps design from 1961 called "Magic Rub-Offs."  See it on the right.  A 11" x 17" sized print is available and only 99 numbered copies will be created.  Go here to check it out at Topps
  • Via Graham Womack at Baseball Past and Present shares a recent interview with former Dodger Jimmy Wynn.
  • Via Mark Saxon at ESPNLosAngeles.com, "Why the Dodgers stood pat."
"If we didn't think that Joc or Corey or Urias had a chance to be impact players here, they'd be out of here," Colletti said. "You can't always stay in the same place where it's a team built on trades and free agency. This franchise's greatest years were really around teams that came through the system (emphasis mine)." 
  • The August 2014 issue of Dodger Insider Magazine features Hyu-Jin Ryu on the cover.  See it on the left.  It features a sit-down interview with Don Mattingly to discuss the Dodgers’ down-and-up first half, the latest on efforts to reduce Tommy John surgery, an exploration of the distinctive deliveries of such pitchers as Clayton Kershaw and J.P. Howell, analysis of the Dodgers’ ability to hit with runners in scoring position, a progress report on Dodger prospects and much more.
  • Andre Ethier's Carne Asada Night will be on Sunday, August 17th.  Go here for information.  It is $50.00 and all proceeds benefit the Union Rescue Mission. 
  • So, are you still hopeful that you'll see the Dodgers on your TV if you're not a TWC customer?  Well, don't be.  Via Joe Flint of the LA Times on twitter:



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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Here are some Day 2 Twitter Pics of "The National"

Day 2 of the National Sports Collections Convention has now passed, and I am more jealous than ever of all the attendees.  Oh how I wish I were there.

Anyway, following up Tuesday's and Wednesday's twitter pics that I had previously shared, here are pics from Day 2 of the show.  But before you do that, check out a couple of links I've gathered featuring a bunch of photos from some other bloggers and websites.
Now, here are some twitter photos below:


So much vintage!

This next photo is of a Jefferson Burdick letter - known as the Father of Card Collecting.  The last sentence says:
"I'd rather admit we're all crazy or at least well along the road that way."


Some kids busting packs!


I remember HoJo.


Hey... PaPa Van Slyke!


That's quite a crowd at the Topps booth.


Here's a view from above.


And, I'll leave with this photo.  Here are a couple of lovely Bench Warmer Girls and some guy.



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Silly Rabbit... The Dodgers Were Always Going to Keep the Prospects


This trade deadline was quite an event.  It was filled with rumors and gossip, intrigue and excitement and most importantly it was filled with a whole lot of nothing for the Dodgers.

The "Boys in Blue" did not trade for David Price.  They did not snag Jon Lester.  John Lackey was no where to be found. 

Instead, the Dodgers stayed put, and if you've been paying attention this should not have been a suprise. 

Nearly two years ago team President Stan Kasten gave numerous interviews explaining the basic philosophy they had in mind for returning the franchise to long-term stability and greatness, and I think it's important to take a brief look at that once again.

Per a story by JP Hoornstra dated August 26, 2012, Kasten made the following statement:
“I want to stress … we continue to believe in the importance of building a foundation through scouting and player development,” Kasten said. “We won’t be what we want to be until we build the system of players.”
It took a couple of years, but it's clear that the Dodgers have a greater level of comfort with the farmhands currently in our stable.  Corey Seager, Joc Pederson and Julio Urias appear to be the Dodger untouchables.  Further down the line are prospects like Chris Anderson, Tom Windle, Grant Holmes and Scott Schebler.  Alexander Guerrero and even fight-happy Arruebarrena are likely to help the Dodgers sooner rather than later. 

As Kasten said, they are building a system of players, and soon those players will start to transition into everyday Dodgers.

Does this mean that the team will never trade a prospect?

Of course not.  It's just that it is too early in the cycle to give up so easily on our top-flight guys.  

This team will be patient, and they'll make a move when it makes sense.  In fact, I wouldn't be surprised if they made a deal for someone placed on the waiver wire (just like in 2012).  There will be less pressure to make a rash-emotionally filled move, and we'll have a better idea about what pieces we need to lock down the division.

In the meantime, we should be thankful that the Dodgers didn't do something stupid for short term gain.  This current ownership is in it for the long term, and staying put appears to furthers that end.

Pic at the very top via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014.

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Dee Gordon met with some Hopeful Young Ballplayers on Monday


During his Monday off day, Dee Gordon came down to The Refinery in Torrance to meet with a group of about 50 kids between the ages of 5 to 12 years old to talk Baseball and the Dodgers.  No doubt, this would be a thrill of a lifetime for them.  After all, how often do you get a chance to meet an All-Star?

Fortunately, Blue Heaven reader Amy was kind enough to pass along some photos and some of the Q&A's from the event.  Considering the ages of these hopeful burgeoning ballplayers you knew their questions would be entertaining.  Check them out below:
What's your favorite position to play?
Dee: I love shortstop, but I went to the All Star's for second base, so I guess I gotta say second base!

Who is your best friend on the team?
Dee: Chone Figgins, I've looked up to him and learned a lot.

Who is faster.. you or Puig?
Dee: ME!

Why do you guys have a bubble machine in the dugout?
Dee: Well, last season Matt Kemp was supposed to throw a foam party after we won the divison and he never did, so now any time someone hits a home run we pull out the bubbles!

What's it like to be a small guy in the majors?
Dee: (Lifts up his sleeve and flexes) I'm not small!

What do you eat for breakfast?
Dee: Bacon and eggs!

Who is your biggest inspiration?
Dee: My family, My dad

Who is your biggest competition?
Dee: No one (with a big smile and a laugh)
Gordon then signed some autographs for the kids.

It can't be emphasized enough how important interactions like this is.  A child sees someone like Dee Gordon and immediately recognizes him as a hero and leader.  So, having him spend some time with them really makes an impression. And when you consider everything Gordon's been through in his career it's even more important.  He can speak about the will to succeed, the desire to get better and the perseverance to tackle all obstacles.  Dee Gordon is an example of how hard work does pay off - you just have to keep going.

BTW, The Refinery is a Baseball and Softball academy that teaches kids of all ages the fundamentals.  Hopefully, a visit from a star like Dee Gordon, who has seen more peaks and valleys than most, can take them to the next level.  Go here to check out their website.


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The Joy of the Completed Set: 1939 Wheaties - Series 13 - 100 Years of Baseball


This is probably one of my all-time favorite Baseball sets.  Featured here is the 1939 Wheaties box set, known as Series 13, of the "100 Years of Baseball."

Last week, I finally decided to pull the trigger to get the final card.  See it above.  Click on any pic to embiggen.

It is card #1 and it tells us all about the "Design of the 1st Diamond."  The remaining 7 cards (there are only 8 cards in the entire set) provide historical information about the game.  It includes Abraham Lincoln's nomination on a ballfield, the creation of the curveball and how fans first hated the Baseball glove.

I had first stumbled upon this Wheaties set a decade ago, and the Baseball history buff in me knew immediately I had to chase it. I picked up my first card then, card #8, since it featured Ernest Lawrence Thayer's poem "Casey at the Bat."  (You can see that at the very bottom)  Then slowly but surely, I added more as they popped up.

It isn't a particularly scarce set, so that wasn't the reason why it took me a decade to complete.  It's just that I'm an extremely patient person.

As for the sets historical accuracy... Well, you gotta take that with a grain of salt.  All of this is based on information known or understood in 1939 - some 75 years ago.

These cards sell for about $20 to $30 a piece in decent condition.  As you likely guessed, these cards were printed on the reverse of Wheaties cereal boxes, so you had to cut them out yourself.  They measure about 6' x 8' with the tab included.  Check out scans of the complete set below.







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Blog Kiosk: 7/31/2014 - Dodger Links - Beast Mode Does it Again, Barney to AAA and Vin Scully


I think it's safe to say that Beast Mode is back - Big Time!  Matt Kemp was explosive at the plate for the second straight game. He belted his 3rd home in two games, and knocked in the winning run in extra innings with a walk-off base hit.

All of the sudden, Matt Kemp is looking like the slugger of old.  He's driving the ball with authority and looks absolutely unbeatable at the plate.  Just when I thought we should be fortunate to see him finally hitting for average, he decides to prove me wrong by hitting for power too.  Wow!  With him back in the saddle there's no telling how far this team could go.

The Dodgers have now won five straight and lead the National League West by three games.  The pic at the very top is via Jon SooHoo/LA Dodgers 2014Check out more pics by Jon from yesterdays game and Vin Scully's press conference prior to the game here.
  • Collectors from throughout the country have descended on the National Sports Collectors Convention in Cleveland.  Panini is running a wrapper redemption program there that is filled with scarce promos and autographs; including the Clayton Kershaw autographed card on the right.  Check out more photos of what they are giving away here.
  • Huh?  So, the Dodgers completed their trade with the Cubs by sending Class-A pitcher Jonathan Martinez to Chicago for infielder Darwin Barney.  Then, they optioned Barney to Albuquerque.  Apparently, he's not coming to Los Angeles right away, but will likely be here when the rosters expand later in the season.
  • Via Steve Dilbeck at The LA Times, "Vin Scully will never understand how deeply he's touched us."
“In all honesty, I don’t ever feel I’ve done anything,” he said. “Somebody will say, 'You’ve done 19 no-hitters and three perfect games.’ And I think I just happened to be there. It’s not something I can take any pride in. I am humbled, believe me, for being given the honor of working the games all these years.
“I couldn’t say goodbye,” Scully said. “I say that in all honesty. When I come to the ballpark, I’m so happy to see Marie and Rita running the elevator. And to see James and Robert in the press box. I walk in and see most of you (reporters). Most of you are friends. I just feel like (I’m) home.

“Then I walk into the booth with Boyd and Robbie, and of course there’s Charley (Steiner) and Rick (Monday), my good pals I see every day. It’s all part of me. That’s why it will be so difficult to say goodbye.”
While not uniformly celebrated for his tools, Schebler has demonstrated enough both of power (21 HR per 600 PA) and speed (14 SB per 600 PA) as a professional to warrant some attention.
  • Via the AP on NESN, "Player Attacked With Bat By Jose Offerman Wins Nearly $1M In Lawsuit."  Do you remember when this happened in 2007?
  • Rich Mueller at Sports Collectors Daily, "Photos, Video from 2014 National Sports Collectors Convention."
  • I just discovered a fun YouTube web series called "The Breaks" and it is made especially for card collectors.  Watch episode #1 below. 

Video Link:

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Here are some Day 1 Twitter Pics of "The National"

Following up on all of the photos I shared yesterday from the National Sports Card Collectors Convention in Cleveland, here are some more pics from today that might make you envious of everyone there. 

The show officially opened up this afternoon, with VIP ticket holders getting early entry and free autograph opportunities with former Major Leaguers Carlos Baerga, Dale Murphy and Denny McLain.  Below is Baerga, via ESPN Mint Condition on twitter:


And here is Dale Murphy with some fans, via his own twitter account.  I gotta add that I really hated Dale Murphy.  Not because he was a bad guy... Not in the least... I hated him because he always seems to kill the Dodgers.  And the way he swung that bat around, which must have been 40 inches long, just scared the living daylights out of me every time he came up to the plate.  As I now check his stats, I see that he didn't even hit us very hard, but I still feared, respected and hated the guy.


Now, on to the show.  Wheatland Auctions shares a panoramic:


WTF?  Pete Rose broke up the Beatles?  (Via VSM Sportscards on twitter)


Here's another look at Topps tiny pavilion, via SCC Trading Cards:


Leaf, on the other hand, pulled out all of the stops.  Via SCC Trading Cards:


ThoseBackPages shows us some incredible vintage cards in a case.


Here's Panini's booth, via SportsCardNews:


Here's Upper Deck, via Chris Harris of Stale Gum:


Finally, here's a game-used Babe Ruth bat at the Memory Lane booth, via Jamie Taylor on twitter:


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Check out this Great Willard Mullin Brooklyn "Bum" Drawing at Hile High


Willard Mullin is one of my favorite all-time favorite sports artist, so whenever I run across some of his work I just can't help but share it here.  For instance, Mile High Card Co's current August 2014 auction includes an original drawing of Mullin's Brookyn Dodger "Bum" leaning over a bewildered gentleman who represents the Cardinals.  It is titled "the Diagnostician."  See it above, and check out the auction here.

This particular drawing appeared in the June 28, 1950 edition of the Sporting News (which you can see below).  Click on any pic to embiggen.

At this point in the season the Dodgers and Cardinals were still battling it out in the National League.  The Dodgers were holding on to a half game lead over the Phillies and a game lead over the Cardinals.  Unfortunately, the season wouldn't finish like that.  The Phillies would go on to win the NL, but lost to the Yankees in the World Series, four straight.
(Auction Link)

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